Energy, Water, Air, and Climate: Modeling Power Generation in Texas

Nancy Anderson
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As part of their special report on Water and Energy, IEEE Spectrum has a video and transcript up on their website outlining steps that are being taken to help energy planners understand the interrelations between energy, water and air quality, and the effects on climate.

As it turns out, managing energy production and distribution affects the environment around us in many ways. This is a known issue -- diverting water from one place to another is done regularly to lessen the impacts on water quality that generation in a particular area may have. It’s also done to lessen impacts on air quality or the surrounding environment. Also to ensure the distribution grid is properly loaded to ensure optimal operation and delivery of electrical power. But all of these decisions impact each other, and engineers Darryl Slusher and Michael Webber of Austin Energy are attempting to create a model that will allow planners to make well-informed decisions in our generation while accounting for all of these factors.

For the time being, they’ve limited the scope of the investigation to the state of Texas and the hydroelectric generating capabilities there, but once the model has been verified, it can easily be expanded for use across the country.

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Mike Wrightly is mostly diesel fumes and duct tape; he grew up around heavy equipment, and holds a Bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering.

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